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Joshua Rosenkranz1 Joshua Rosenkranz Ms.

Sailing Themes/Exposition PD 3 Due Date: 2-22-10 Felix Mendelssohn Have you ever heard music that made you almost feel as if you were dreaming? If so, then you may be familiar with the famous romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn was one of the first Romantic composers and undoubtedly one of the best composers of the 19th century. His compositions mainly center around emotions, beauty, and wonder. His music had an influence on other composers of the time because of his smooth sounding style. This new style of music made him a hero to other composers of his time which is why he is a hero.

Mendelssohn was born February 3rd, 1809 in Hamburg Germany into a wealthy Jewish family which later converted to Protestantism. His parents decided to give him music lessons as a youngster. Mendelssohn studied piano with Ludwig Berger and wrote his first piece of music at the age of ten. He also took lessons from a music teacher known as Henning and from his mother. On Sundays his parents had him perform concerts that would consist of a small string symphony, which he would conduct with his sister Fanny.

Joshua Rosenkranz2 By the time he was seventeen he wrote the famous A mid summers night dream an astounding oratorio written at such a young and soon began to become famous. He becomes a hero in part because of how he dealt with harsh reactions to his work. For instance even though his A Midsummers Night Dream was quite amazing, not everyone liked it because of his new style of music. However when he received criticism for it he still persevered in his work. Over the next 18 years he and his music became famous. Some people felt as though he rediscovered Bach and others compared his music to that of the infamous Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After performing his famous oratorio, Elijah, at the Philharmonic Orchestra Society in the spring of 1844, he received honors from the Queen of England, was given the title Kapellmeister from the King of Prussia, and became the director of music for the city Dsseldorf.

Felix Mendelssohn is also a hero because of how hard he worked on his music, even to the point where it killed him. In addition to his writing, by age twenty he started conducting full time. This job required him to travel to places like Italy, England, and Scotland where his growing international fame soon started to put pressure on him while dealing with the stress of having lost a mother and sister.

Eventually Mendelssohn wrote his famous Lieder Ohne Worte (Song without Words). This series of pieces included melodic chord progressions which literally made it sound as if the keys on the piano were singing. He wrote these in his thirties, and when the English heard this music, he returned for nine concert tours by popular demand. It was during this time that he also

Joshua Rosenkranz3 founded The Great Conservatoire of Music in Germany which is the best known musical college in Europe today.

Unfortunately Mendelssohn did not live a long life. Shortly after his mothers death, his sister Fanny, who was a composer as well, died too. This struck Mendelssohn deeply because he and his sister where very close. After this, Mendelssohn exerted himself, burying himself in his music. Soon this over-exertion greatly impaired his health, but he didnt stop. He died November 4th 1847 from a stroke. A cross marks his grave at a cemetery in the Alte Dreifaltigkeits Kirchof in Berlin, Germany.

Mendelssohn is a hero because under difficult circumstances he didnt stop exploring new fields of music. His oratorios inspired future romantic era composers such as Johannes Brahms, and Robert Schumann. The fact that Mendelssohn worked himself to the point of impaired health and eventually death is definitely a feat of extraordinary dedication and perseverance. Even this long after his death he is accepted as the greatest composer of the 19th century.

Joshua Rosenkranz4

Works sited www.balletmet.org www.classical.net/music/comp.lst/mendelssohn.php www.last.fm/music/Felix+Mendelssohn www.naxos.com Classical Composers www.gaglianorecordings.com/mendbio.html www.nndb.com/people/266/000092987/